Thoughts on the Triple Poker Routine
(contributed and written by Dennis Loomis)


With the publication of Try the Impossible, it's possible to reset the stack after the Draw Poker demonstration. However, there are certainly times when upsetting the stack is a small price to pay in order to do a more powerful routine. Even when table-hopping, working a hospitality room, etc., you always have that last show of the evening. Occasionally this will be for the person who hired you, or some other important individual and their party. This is the time to do a powerful effect that destroys the stack. My first choice is the complete three-phase poker demonstration from pages 120-123 of Bound to Please.

Start with the Stud Deal, then do the 10 card routine with the Jonah card, and end with the Draw routine (and that Royal Flush in Spades!) When you have the time to do it, and interested spectators, this is much stronger than just the Draw Routine by itself.

With that in mind, I'd like to share some embellishments I use when doing this sequence. You need to do some preparatory work when picking up the hands after the Stud Demonstration. The effort will pay off with a couple of nice "touches" during the Draw Routine.

At the end of the Stud routine, you will have three hands of cards face up on the table, along with two discards face down. The last card you deal yourself will be the 7C. Instead of placing it on the face of your hand, put it between the AH and the 7S. (Your hand, from the face will then be the 7H, the AH, the 7C, the 7S, and the 7D). As you pick up the cards used in the Stud Deal, contrive to keep your hand on top of these gathered cards; the rest of the dealt cards can be in any order. Place the remainder of the deck on top of these cards and you are ready to continue.

Now perform your favorite version of the Ten Card Poker deal, using the next ten cards (stack numbers 29-38, with the KH as the Jonah card). When you finish, put these ten cards on the bottom of the deck.

For the third and final phase, deal out five face-down hands of Draw poker, exactly as per Simon’s stack. After you have dealt the five hands, your previous Stud hand (with the four 7's) will now be on top of the deck.

When you show the first hand of the Draw routine, it contains three sixes. You comment that most poker players would discard the two indifferent cards. Remove the KC and 3H, and deal the two top cards of the deck to that hand. Now, comment that this guy is going to be very surprised when he gets another pair on the draw, upgrading his hand to a full house. Turn the 7S and 7D face-up to fill the full house.

Proceed to the second hand, and explain that this will be a club flush. Before you turn it over, mention that it's "almost a straight flush." Comment that one card, the QC, keeps it from being a straight. Turn up the hand, to reveal that you were correct. As you remove the Queen from the hand, explain that only a mediocre poker player would discard the Queen, trying for the straight. After all, there are only two cards, which can fill that straight, the 2C and the 7C. You might mention that all the hands should be good to ensure a big pot. Get ready for a double lift as you explain that without your help, this guy will doubtless ruin his flush. State that he’ll probably get some random card like...the AH. After you name it, turn over the double and the spectators will, see the AH. You turn the card(s) down and comment that you don't necessarily have to deal him that card from the top. Doing your best impersonation of a second deal, you deal the top card and reveal that it's the 7C. This completes the straight flush in clubs.

You reveal the third hand is a full house. Then you reveal that the fourth hand is four of a kind... in nines. Mention that since the fifth card is an ace, the hand can't be improved, but that most poker players would draw one card, to make their opponents think they have two pairs. The card you deal will be the Ace of Hearts. That validates your "second" deal, since the Ace should be on top if you had dealt a second. (Or a bottom, for that matter.) All that remains is to reveal your royal flush in spades. I like to call the cards just before I turn them over. I say: "The 10S," and deal that card to my left. Then I say: "The AS," and deal it to my right. I then say: "The JS," and deal it down next to the ten. Next: "The QS" and it's dealt next to the Jack. This should leave an opening for just one card. You then name the KS, and place it down into the open spot.

This finishes what I feel is one of the great card routines of all time. My little additions are certainly minor compared to Simon's original creation. But, give them a try anyway, I think you'll find them worth while.


(1) If you do a second deal, you can easily incorporate it into this sequence. When you finish the stud deal, place the 7C between the 7H and the AH, and pick up the cards as described above. When you reach the 2nd hand of the Draw poker routine and discard the QC, you can legitimately turn over the AH on top of the deck. Leave it face up, and second deal the 7C from beneath it to complete the straight flush.

(2) One of the strengths of the three-phase sequence is that a spectator gets to deal the cards for the middle phase. They will remember that you beat them even when they dealt the cards themselves. However, experience has taught me that you want to be very careful in choosing your helper, and in controlling the situation. You want a card player who has some experience dealing so that they don't drop the deck, and so that the deal doesn't take very long. But, you also want a friendly, cooperative spectator who is unlikely to suddenly cut or shuffle the cards on their own initiative. It's important that you stay in charge of the situation and that you get the deck back as quickly as possible after the deal is complete. I like to say: "Let's play a little one on one game" as I begin to hand them the cards. Before the cards are out of my hand, I say: "Deal one card right here," as I point to a spot on the table in front of myself. I then point to a spot in front of the spectator as I say: "And one here." Then I tell them to: "Keep going, until we each have five cards." Be sure to keep count yourself, and when they deal the tenth card to themselves, say: "Great," or "That's fine," as you reach for the deck. Don't tell them that they are going to deal two five-card poker hands before they start. An experienced card player may just automatically cut or shuffle the cards before they begin.

It's still possible that the spectator will cut the deck right after they finish the ten-card deal. That's not a problem if you remember that the 6H has to be on top when you start the draw demonstration. Just look through the face up cards quickly, commenting that they are well mixed, but you'll shuffle them a bit more. Spot the 6H and cut it to the top, going right into a false shuffle and a false cut. I mention this possibility because it happened to me. I didn't remember where I had to start the draw routine, and I had to end the sequence without the "payoff" of the draw demonstration. (Isn't it convenient that the three cards, which have to be on top, to begin the three poker deals, are the 5H, 4H, and 6H?)




Copyright Simon Aronson 2014